Paul George: 'Lance is genuine'
MIAMI -- Lance Stephenson has no problem expressing his feelings.
At the start of the Eastern Conference finals, Stephenson said he was going to try to run Dwyane Wade around to make his knee "flare up." After Game 3, Stephenson said he thought LeBron James' trash talk was a "sign of weakness."
More from ESPN.com
Lance Stephenson routinely gets criticized for being a ball hog, but as Tom Haberstroh explains, he's actually an efficient distributor and one of the keys for the Indiana Pacers to beat the Miami Heat. Story
"Lance is genuine," Pacers forward Paul George said. "Sometimes he needs to keep things more in house and be a little more modest."
Stephenson, though, did not back down before Game 4 despite causing another little stir after his comments on James' on-the-court back-and-forth.
"I don't mind it, I don't care how [LeBron] feels. I'm up for any challenge," Stephenson said. "I love it when people challenge me, I like to bring out the best in people. That's how I am, I have to get the win tonight. When I talk junk, it makes me happier in my job. I like the challenge, I like to force myself to do my job."
James addressed the comments before Game 4 on Monday night.
"I really didn't have a reaction, I had a grin. That's it," James said.
"I don't need much motivation, [trash talk] can help at times for sure. When you're doubted or people don't believe in your abilities, you can use it as motivation."
George said Monday that Stephenson is making a mistake in picking LeBron as the target of his latest comments.
"He's doing it to the wrong guy. He's barking up the wrong tree. LeBron is the same way, he feeds off that kind of energy," he said.
Stephenson is averaging 17 points and seven assists in the series, and he's become a growing target for the Heat both within the game and on the periphery of the series.
"It's LeBron, he's the best player in the world," Chris Bosh said. "If [Stephenson] getting it in his head is averaging 27 points, I hope he stays there."
Stephenson said his teammates and coaches haven't asked him to temper his comments, although it sounds like he's at least thinking of backing off.
"We're playing against the Heat, everything is in the spotlight," Stephenson said. "I've got to be careful with what I say."
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- Judge rules for S. Sterling in sale of Clippers
- NBPA elects 1st big league female union chief
- Sources: Clippers' Griffin has back fracture
- Griz remove interim tag from GM Wallace